Image via Justin Melillo
Just like it does in the real world, the Suzuka International Racing Course may prove to be a deciding factor in the Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship season on Thursday. The penultimate round of the 2021 season can be seen live starting at 3PM ET/19:00 GMT at iRacing.com/live and across iRacing’s full slate of social media channels.
After making its debut on the World Driver’s Championship schedule in 1987, the following four years each saw the title decided at the popular Japanese circuit—sometimes under controversial circumstances, as was the case in 1989. It’s been a mainstay of the sport in the real world ever since, and also host to numerous major endurance racing events, such as the 10 Hours of Suzuka that had its own iRacing version just last weekend.
But the world’s top open wheel sim racers could have a highly dramatic race of their own this week. After the events at the Red Bull Ring, Apex Racing Team’s Peter Berryman has returned to the championship lead by nine over R8G Esports’ Maarten van Loozenoord, who made contact with Berryman’s teammate Yohann Harth while attempting a late charge to the front on soft tires in Austria. The resulting contact dropped the duo from second and third to 10th and 11th, and all of van Loozenoord’s hard work to regain the points lead from a perfect October was quickly reversed.
The nine-point gap also provides a unique championship scenario. With 25 points for a winner and 21 for second, van Loozenoord can’t simply win the next two races to earn the championship if Berryman scores second in both races. But thanks to the bonus point on the line for the fastest lap of each race, van Loozenoord does have a direct path to the title—a perfect 52 points over the next two weeks. In that scenario, he’d win by at least a single point. no matter what Berryman does; he also holds the tiebreaker with five wins to Berryman’s two.
Following Japan, the thrill of the Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship will conclude next week at the Hungaroring, the latest track to make its iRacing pro series debut as a part of the series. For more information on Force Dynamics, visit www.ForceDynamics.com. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iRacing.com.